The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
Plastic products advertised as biodegradable have recently emerged, but they sound almost too good to be true. Scientists have now found out that, at least for now, consumers have good reason to doubt these claims. In a new study appearing in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, plastics designed to degrade didn’t break down any faster than their more conventional counterparts.
The most extensive land-based study of the Amazon to date reveals it is losing its capacity to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. From a peak of two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year in the 1990s, the net uptake by the forest has halved and is now for the first time being overtaken by fossil fuel emissions in Latin America. The results of this monumental 30-year survey of the South American rainforest, which involved an international team of almost 100 researchers and was led by the University of Leeds, are published in the journal Nature.
Researchers have discovered a valley underneath East Antarctica’s most rapidly-changing glacier that delivers warm water to the base of the ice, causing significant melting. The intrusion of warm ocean water is accelerating melting and thinning of Totten Glacier, which at 65 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 3.5 metres. The glacier is one of the major outlets for the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is the largest mass of ice on Earth and covers 98 percent of the continent.
Climate change is raising the temperature of the oceans, and sea levels are predicted to rise about one metre per century. Totten Glacier could represent a major component of this change.
Adapting to climate change could have profound environmental repercussions, according to a new study from the University of East Anglia. Research in Nature Climate Change reveals that adaptation measures have the potential to generate further pressures and threats for both local and global ecosystems.
Lead researcher Dr Carlo Fezzi, from UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences, said: “Climate change is a just a little bit more complicated than we previously thought. We need to take into account not only the direct impact of climate change, but also how people will respond to such change — the impact of adaptation.
“This is a whole new dimension to the climate change adaptation debate.”
DENVER, March 22, 2015 — Construction crews may someday use a plant molecule called lignin in their asphalt and sealant mixtures to help roads and roofs hold up better under various weather conditions. It also could make them more environmentally friendly, according to a researcher today at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
A pair of air pollutants linked to climate change could also be major contributors to the unparalleled rise in the number of people sneezing, sniffling and wheezing during allergy season. The gases, nitrogen dioxide and ground-level ozone, appear to provoke chemical changes in certain airborne allergens that may increase their potency. That, in combination with changes in global climate could help explain why allergies are becoming more common.
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